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Thread: Long Ride

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    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    Long Ride

    Dewey Gibson, a strapping young buck of twenty, left his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas during the gold rush of 1860 for Prescott Valley, Arizona, seeking his fortune. A few weeks later, he arrived in the gold-rush town, bursting at the seams with fortune seekers. Still full of hope, Dewey set out to find a grubstake and gold. But reality hit him right between his eyes: too many miners and too few grubstakes, or jobs of any worth.

    The blistering heat of two summers and the biting cold of a winter were enough for Dewey. His dreams of getting rich faded with each setting of the sun. He heard of jobs--farm and cattle jobs--in Flagstaff, a week’s ride north for anyone able to make the journey. So Dewey set out, leaving gold fever as far behind him as he could ride.

    Dewey fixed a mess of beans and bacon and put them on the campfire to cook. He went to the steam for some water to make coffee. Walking back, he glanced at his horse. Good. She’s found some grass. Dewey checked the beans, set the coffeepot in the coals, and stretched-out before the campfire.

    The roaring fire was burning the beans, the coffee was boiling over, and Dewey was sleeping. He had drifted off for a few minutes, but the crack of a dry limb breaking, woke him. Rolling to one side, he pulled his Colt .45 and stood, facing the noise. “Who goes there?”

    “Easy, partner. Just a couple of weary travelers needing a place to bed down for the night,” said a voice in the dark.

    “Come into the light where’s I can see you.”

    “Careful with that hog pistol, mister. Don’t want it to go off accidental like, do we?”

    Dewey lowered his revolver. “Coffee’s boiling over and probably strong enough to grow hair on a toad.”

    The voice moved into the campfire’s light. “Just the way we like it. I’m Hank.” The others stayed in the shadows. “This here’s my brother, Jamie, and the dumb blonde one, is my cousin, Josh.”

    “Where you all heading?”

    “Prescott.”

    “Gold mining?”

    “Naw. Too hard work,” said Hank.

    Josh stepped from the shadows and blurted, “We gonna rob the bank.”

    “Can’t you keep him shut up for one minute, Jamie?”

    Stepping backwards, Dewey lifted his revolver toward the trio.

    Jamie rushed forward and cupped his hand over Josh’s mouth. “Sorry, Hank, what we do now?”

    “Shut up...Lemme think.”

    “Tweren’t gonna be any killing but now, things have changed, Hank. Josh really screwed this up but good.”

    “Okay, mister...if you drop your gun...we’ll...um...we’ll let you go. This ain’t worth getting killed over.”

    “You crazy, Hank? He’ll ride outta here and warn the bank we’re coming. They’ll be awaiting for us.”

    “Not if we take his horse, he won’t. He can’t walk to Prescott in time; it’s a four-day ride from here, more than a week on foot.”

    “What’d you say, mister? We take your horse, ride off, and nobody needs to get hurt.”

    “I guess it’s better than dying over other people’s money. People I don’t even know,” said Dewey.

    “Okay, it’s a deal. Now, ease that shooter of yours back in the holster, we’ll have some coffee, and be on our way.”

    “Help yourself,” Dewey said, easing his Colt into its cradle. While the men poured coffee, he moved opposite them and inched toward the stream.

    “He’s trying to get away,” yelled Josh. He stood, pulled his revolver, and shot off a round, missing Dewey.

    Dewey turned and flat-out ran into the darkness.

    “What the hell?” screamed Jamie, lunging for Josh’s gun. But Josh fired again before Jamie could wrestle it out of his hand.

    This last bullet pierced Dewey’s trousers, below the belt, through his right fleshy cheek. It laid bare a wound, about three inches long and half an inch deep. He howled and fell face-first in to the stream.

    “Did I get him?”

    “Josh, yar...a...blooming...idiot. Now, we’re killers,” said Hank, fuming with anger and stomping.

    “How you know he’s dead?” asked Jamie. “I’m gonna check.”

    Dewey floated into a calm pool, protected from the main channel’s flow, and circled around, and around. He held his breath as long as he could, rolled his head for a gulp of air, and continued floating.

    “I see him. He’s floating face down. If the bullet didn’t get him, he drowned for sure.”

    Jamie returned to the campfire.

    “What we do now, Hank?”

    “Just as we planned. Take his horse, saddle, and whatever else worth taking; and we ride to Prescott and get us a bank.”

    “Yeah,” said Jamie.

    “Where’s Prescott?” asked Josh.

    “Good Lord, may I never have kids,” said Hank.

    “Where’s his horse?” asked Jamie.

    “I don’t know. Must of run off when the shooting started.”

    “How we gonna carry his saddle?”

    “Oh, crap. Leave it. Let’s ride.”

    “I killed him, so it’s my sadda,” said Josh. “The sadda’s mine.”

    “Can you shut that moron up?” said Hank, mounting his horse.

    “Whatza moron?” asked Josh, missing the stirrup for the third time as his horse circled.

    “Will you just shoot me if I ever ‘pregnate a woman,” said Hank, riding into the darkness.

    #

    The clip-clops of horses’ hooves faded, and when Dewey was sure they were gone, he swam to the stream’s edge, and pulled himself onto dry land. The wound in his right cheek throbbed, but in the darkness, he couldn’t tell how bad it was. If the pain was any indication, it must be bad, but he still could move his leg without difficulty. Hopefully, the bullet missed a major blood vessel; otherwise, he could lose a lot of blood. He’d seen bad infections from wounds, and they could kill too.

    He once saw an old-timer take small hot coals from a fire and press them into a wound. Hurt the man so that he screamed, but no infection developed. If Dewey was to get out alive, he had to try something: he was midway between Prescott and Flagstaff, several day’s hike either way.

    Dewey crawled to the campfire, lowered his trousers, took his wet kerchief, and gathered burning coals. Feeling for the right spot, he gritted his teeth and pressed the coals into the wound. His screams echoed through the valley. His horse’s ears turned toward the sound. Dewey passed out.

    The morning sun’s rays peeked over the mountains and fell on the campsite. Dewey awoke with a start, reached for his gun, and looked around for the source of the noise that aroused him. On the stream’s bank was his horse, munching on some aquatic grasses. “Why you old nag. You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

    Dewey checked his wound; the bleeding had stopped, but he winced when he touched it. With each tug on his boot, pain shot down his leg. After removing his boots, the pain of taking off his canvas trousers came next. Freed from the heavy garment, Dewey stood and tried to walk. Limping with each step, he walked around the camp. He reached behind and felt for blood. He examined the sticky, dull-red liquid on his fingers. Old blood, no new bleeding.

    He checked the bullet holes in his trousers: a single pair, one entered, centered on the right, back pocket; the other exited, two inches to the right. Lucky it didn’t hit my hipbone, just flesh. Standing barefooted and naked from the waist down, Dewey pondered his next move: Ride on--assuming he could ride--to Flagstaff, or return to Prescott. It was about the same distance and time, either way.

    Dewey hobbled over to his saddle and bags. He figured that bunch had stripped him bare of anything valuable, and he was right. His food, rifle, and bedroll were gone. When his horse ran off, she saved his saddle but little else. If an infection didn’t get him, he’d die from starvation, at least that’s what kept running through his mind. He couldn’t see any way out of his predicament.

    The beans he left on the fire were dried-out and burnt around the edges, but Dewey managed to chisel a few bites from the middle of the pot. He didn’t care what they tasted like, it was food, and his belly was happy to finally to get some nourishment. The coffee was thick and cold, but he drank some, anyway, and sputtered when the strong, bitter liquid traversed his palate.

    Dewey tried to sit, but the pain from the skin stretching around the wound was too great. Instead, he raised his right leg--bent at the knee--in small increments, stretching the skin a little at a time. He felt for fresh blood: none. Over the course of an hour, he raised his leg parallel with the ground. He tried to sit, again. This time, as long as he kept his weight on his left buttock, he could sit with minimal pain.

    The stream that saved his life, yesterday, he hoped would save his life again. Dewey stripped and wadded into the cool waters to soak his wound and exercise his leg.

    Dewey didn’t hear three sets of hooves approaching. A crusty older woman, maybe fortyish, and her two youngsters--a boy, about twenty-one, and a daughter, about nineteen--stopped, overlooking the stream, and Dewey splashing in the water. “Howdy, mister, having fun?”

    “I..I’m soaking a wound.”

    “Come closer so we can get a better look at you.”

    “Ma’am, I ain’t got no clothes on.”

    “Don’t matter. You ain’t got anything I ain’t already seen. Now, come closer. I can’t see far off. Billy, keep a rifle on him.”

    “Okay, Ma.”

    “I’m coming, no need to point that rifle at me,” said Dewey as he waded toward the shore. He stopped when he was waist-deep.

    “I still can’t see you. Come closer. Billy, help him obey.”

    “No, ma’am, that ain’t necessary. I’m coming. What about your daughter?”

    “Time she sees what varmints are made of.”

    “Varmints? I ain’t no varmint. What you mean?” asked Dewey, standing ankle-deep in the stream and covering his embarrassment.

    “Is this the man that tried to rape you, Jeannie?”

    “No, Ma, it ain’t him. Too tall, wrong hair and muscles; it ain’t him. Never saw the man fully naked. He was drunk and never got his pants all the way down.”

    “Sorry, mister, you can go back to whatever you was doing when we rode up. Come on, children, we gonna keep looking till we find him.”

    “Wait a minute. I’m in dire straits. Three men came into camp last night and shot me when I tried to escape. They took my food, rifle, and left me for dead, and if don’t find food or my wound gets infected, I’ll be as good as dead inside a week or so.”

    “Never heard of anyone starving in a week, but the wound’s another matter altogether.” Ma dismounted and walked to the water’s edge. “Lemme see.”

    Dewey bent over, exposing his backside. “How’s it look?”

    “This hurt? How about this spot?” asked Ma, poking him at various places around the wound.

    Dewey winced. “That’s sore a bit.”

    “Tell me straight. Do it hurt or not?”

    “It hurts.”

    “You got infection in the wound, son. When you get shot?”

    “I reckon it was an hour past sundown, or so.”

    “Twelve hours, too fast for infection to show, maybe just trauma. It looks as if a gnarly looking knife ripped your backside open. You’ll know tomorrow about infection. Billy, Jeannie, we’re making camp. What’s your name, fella?”

    “Dewey. Dewey Gibson.”

    “Well, Dewey, don’t just stand there all naked in front of God and everybody. Get some clothes on, son. Us women folk seen all we can take for one day.” Laughing, Ma turned to her kids and directed the layout of camp.

    Dewey struggled but managed to dress. Billy gathered wood and started a fire. Jeannie took the coffeepot to the stream for fresh water. Ma prepared a meal of cornbread, dried beef, and beans.

    “What was the man like that attacked your daughter?”

    “Kind of stocky, curly blonde hair, scraggly mustache, and acted dumb-like,” said Ma.

    “Dumb-like?”

    “Yeah,” said Jeannie. “He talked funny, like a child at times, and for a grown man, didn’t know what he was doing, I mean, he didn’t know how to be with a girl.”

    “How’d you know?”

    “Been raised on a farm, mister. I know what’s for what, and what goes where. Seen the animals doing lots of times, and I seen Billy’s different from me, so I’m knowing without doing.”

    “What you insinuating about my youngin, mister?”

    “Nothing, ma’am, I’m just gathering facts about her attacker. So tell me what happened.”

    “Near sundown, Ma and Billy were awaiting with the wagon at the general store, and I was coming to meet them, when a man--the curly blonde man--grabbed my arm and pulled me between two buildings. He put a gun to my throat and told me to be quiet like while he had his way with me. He pushed me to the ground, and tried to unbuckle. His gun belt slipped around his ankles. When he unbuttoned his pants and stepped towards me, he got all tangled and fell. Cursing, he crawled on top of me but never lifted my dress. He couldn’t nothing that way. I knew then, he didn’t know how to do what he was trying to do. We heard voices coming our way. So he jumped up, tried to untangle his gun belt and pull up his pants all at once. He stumbled and fell again. Last I saw of him, he was hopping on one foot, his gun belt dangling from the other, making for the shadows. If I weren’t so fearful, I would have laughed myself silly.”

    “He sounds like the one who shot me. Name’s Josh. He’s the cousin of two brothers, Hank and Jamie, riding to Prescott to rob the bank. Chances are they’ll come back this way, afterwards.”

    “Don’t say. So if we wait for them here, we’ll get that no-good, low-life that attacked Jeannie.”

    “Yep, I reckon so.”

    #

    Dewey awoke with first light, feverish and his wound was throbbing. “Ma...Ma,” he whispered, after crawling to her bedroll.

    She woke with a start. “What’s the matter, Dewey?”

    “I don’t feel so good, and my wound’s mighty sore.”

    “Probably got’s infection but can’t see in this light. Have to wait till sunrise.”

    “Okay, Ma.” Dewey crawled back to his bedroll, sweat dripping from his forehead. He drifted off the sleep.

    At sunrise, Ma woke Dewey and told him to lower his trousers. She examined the wound. “It’s infected, puss draining in a couple of places. Have to remove the scab, and it’s going to hurt a bit. Billy, get up and build a fire. Jeannie, get some water a boiling.”

    Pulling down his trousers, Dewey gritted his teeth in anticipation. “Calm down, son. I haven’t started, yet. Billy, bring him some of the medicinal whiskey.”

    “Okay, Ma,” said Billy, returning with a full bottle of Kentucky’s finest.

    “Where’d you get this, Ma?” asked Dewey. “Ain’t tasted nothing this good since coming west.”

    “Husband was a drunkard, but he liked the best and left a few bottles when he passed. Keep them for medicine’s sake.”

    “I could sure use a good slug.” Dewey chugged a couple of gulps, and on an empty stomach, the alcohol put him a stupor in short order. “Okay, Ma, dig...a...way.”

    “Jeannie, bring a boiling hot cloth.”

    “Here it is.”

    “This’ll burn a little, but it’s what you need.”

    “Yeeowl. Gemme another swig.”

    “We’ll let that set a spell to soften the scab...not too hot now, ain’t it? Little longer...that’s enough. Let’s see what we got. Ummm...not as bad as I figured it’d be, but I have to take off the scab. Billy, stick the knifepoint in the fire, get it white-hot, and bring it to me. Son, you better take another swig.”

    Ma took the knife a poured some whisky on the hot tip to cool it. She slid the point under the scab’s edge and lifted. Pus and blood gushed out, and Dewey let out a yelp that echoed through the valley. As she lifted more scabs. More pus and blood drained from the wound, and Dewey’s screams sent the wildlife scurrying for cover. With the last of the scab removed, Ma could see where the infection sites were.

    “You better bite on this,” Ma said, handing Dewey his belt.

    Ma poured whisky on the wound, and scraped all the pus that was visible. The wound was bleeding, and fresh blood pooled where Dewey lay. “Bring the salt, Jeannie.”

    Ma poured a generous helping on the wound. She took a boiled cloth, folded it, and pressed it on the wound. Dewey squirmed from the pain. “Need another swig, son?”

    “Yeeeeeah, might say I do.”

    “Come here, girl. Press this tight. Your ma’s knees done give out.”

    “Yes, Ma.”

    Jeannie knelt next to Dewey and pressed against the bandage. She took a wet cloth in her other hand and wiped the blood from this right hip and upper leg. When she put the sopping wet cloth on his cheeks, water trickled between them and his legs. Dewey muscles tightened. “Relax, Mr. Gibson, I’m not gonna hurt you.”

    “I think I’m clean enough, missy.”

    “No hanky panky the two of you,” said Ma. “Jeannie’s been saving herself for the right man.”

    “No worry, Ma. I’m waiting for the right woman too.”

    Dewey thought he saw a twinkle in Ma’s eyes when he said that, but he shrugged off the thought.

    “Lemme see the wound, Jeannie...Looks good for now. Bleedings stopped. You can leave the bandage off. Let it air dry. I think it’s breakfast time. Are you hungry, son?”

    “What about me? I’m hungry too,” said Billy.

    Jeannie smiled and went to get food from the supplies.

    #

    “Your wound looks good after two days of healing...I don’t see any infection, neither. You’ll be good as new soon,” said Ma. “You should try riding a bit.”

    “Okay, if you think it’s healed enough.”

    “I’ll help saddle your horse,” said Jeannie, “if you need any help.”

    “I can always use some help.”

    Jeannie handed him the blanket, and Dewey’s hand touched hers. He put the blanket on the horse’s back. Heaving the saddle into place, he reached under the horse’s belly for the flank cinch. Jeannie handed it to him. He tightened it and the back cinch too.

    Dewey turned, and Jeannie handed him the bridle. He laid the reins over the horse’s neck, slipped the bit into its mouth, slid the crownpiece over its ears, and tightened the strap. Grasping the reins, he asked, “Do you wanna go for a ride?”

    “Never thought you’d ask,” said Jeannie.

    Dewey lifted her onto the saddle and climb up behind her. The saddle’s cantle jabbed his wound, and he suppressed a yelp. They started with a walk, followed by a trot, but with each bounce, pain shot through his buttock. He stopped. “Let’s trade positions. I’ll sit in front, and you can sit behind the saddle.”

    “Okay.”

    Dewey dismounted and rubbed his behind. He helped Jeannie down, and he remounted. Reaching for her arm, he pulled Jeannie onto the horse’s croup. This time, the horse could slow gallop without causing Dewey pain. All the while, Jeannie held tight to Dewey’s chest.

    “Whoa, easy girl,” said Dewy, patting his horse on its neck. “...That was fun, wasn’t it?”

    “I enjoyed riding with you, holding tight to you, being so close to you.”

    “Me too, Jeannie. You’re kind of special, different than any girl I ever met before.”

    “How was the ride?” asked Ma. “...Oooh, did I interrupt something?”

    “No, Ma. Dewey and me was just talking, nothing more.” Jeanie walked the horse to the stream.

    “She’s a right pretty young woman, don’t you think, Dewey. Gonna make the right man a perfect wife someday.”

    “Ma, you’re as subtle as a mule kick, you know?”

    Ma walked away humming a tune.

    Dewey glanced toward Jeanie. She does look right pretty at that. A man could do a lot worst and no better.

    #

    “It’s been seven days since Hank and his kin left here to rob the Prescott Bank. I figure four days riding to Prescott, maybe spend a day in town, and three days back. So we got a day or more before they come up the trail.”

    “What if they ride strait through?” asked Billy.

    “Have to give the horses time to rest and feed, else they’ll ride them into the ground and be on foot.”

    “They took my rifle, but I have my revolver with about twenty rounds. What else we got?”

    “I got a rifle,” said Billy, “And twenty-five bullets.”

    “This old single-shot relic won’t be much good, but it has twelve shots,” said Ma.

    “I keep Pa’s old handgun, but it only has six rounds,” said Jeannie.

    “I’m fair marksman, not great but can hold my own. How about you, Billy?”

    “I can shoot out the eye of a gnat, buzzing at fifty yours.”

    “Ma?”

    “Not quite as good as Billy, but don’t challenge me to a rifle fight as long as we’re up close.”

    “Jeannie?”

    “Close up, only.”

    “We’ve the makings of a small but formidable army. Standing watch and no fires will be our edge against these men. If we get the drop on them before they know what hit them, we can capture or kill them before they kill us. Billy, you stand the day watch, and I’ll stand the night watch. That ledge and those boulders on either side of the campsite should be our best defensive positions.”

    #

    “What you doing here? You should be sleeping.”

    “I couldn’t sleep thinking about you and what could happen to you if they sneak up on you during the night, so I came to watch with you. Besides, I like being near you.”

    “Okay, but be quiet.”

    “...Dewey, what are you going to do when this is over?” whispered Jeannie.

    “What you mean?”

    “...I mean...you’re a young man...and I’m young woman...never been kissed nor done nothing...well...I was wondering...if you ever...I mean... ever gave me as much as a thought. There I said it!”

    “Jeannie, you like me...don’t you?”

    “Of course I do, you dumb old ox.”

    “I like you too, but this ain’t the time to do any courting.”

    “Dewey Gibson, you’re just the...”

    Dewey kissed her. “Now will you keep quiet and go back to your bedroll?”

    “Sure, Dewey, anything you say.”

    #

    “Hank. Hey, Hank, we been riding these nags real hard,” said Jamie. “They’re about to drop under us if we don’t give them a rest.”

    “We’ll stop where Josh shot that feller. There’s water and feed for the horses.”

    “You thinks his sadda still there?” asked Josh. “I killed him, so his sadda’s mine.”

    “You’re a perfect reason against incest, Josh.”

    “What’s this here incest?”

    “It’s when our brother and sister, your ma and pa, gave life to you. The seed don’t grow right when the fertilizer’s too much like the seed.”

    “Huh?”

    “Forget it, Hank. It’s above him.”

    “My point is, Josh, your different and difficult to deal with. You do things you shouldn’t like killing that stranger. Twas no need for it. That’s what I mean. And you shot up the bank. Twasn’t necessary, neither. You’re plumb dangerous at times.”

    “I like shooting. Makes people take notice. They don’t call me dumb when hot lead is flying around them. I like shooting a lot.”

    “We better get moving. Close to sunup, we should be near to the clearing where we met the stranger. We’ll rest there for the day before heading to Flagstaff.”

    #

    Dewey’s eyes hung heavy as the hours dragged on. His thoughts drifted back to what Jeannie said and the kiss. But horseshoes pawing against hard ground and rocks, echoed in the twilight. He slipped over and awakened Ma, Billy, and Jeannie. “They’re coming. I reckon about a hundred yards up the trail. Take your positions.”

    Each gathered their bedroll and stashed them behind a bush. Taking positions overlooking the campsite, they waited for the approaching men.

    #

    “Can we finally rest?” asked Jamie, dismounting. “My arse’s near glued to my saddle.” His horse strolled over to the stream for a drink. Jamie stretched and rubbed his backside.

    Josh dismounted and looked around. “Where’s my sadda? We left it here, but it’s gone.”

    “Shut up about your ‘sadda’,” shouted Hank. “Your horse is more important than an old saddle. It needs water and feed.”

    “But I want my sadda,” mumbled Josh while he unsaddled his horse. His horse walked over to the stream.

    “Jamie, you didn’t take your saddle off. Your horse needs a rest too,” yelled Hank.

    “Okay. Okay, I’ll get it.” Jamie waded into the stream, uncinched the saddle, and plopped it on the bank.

    Hank dismounted, took the saddlebags of money, and pitched them near the burnt-out campfire. He loosened the cinch and let the saddle drop to the ground. His horse wondered to the stream and took a long drink.

    Josh said,”Lemme see the money, Hank.”

    “Yeah, I wanna see it too. How much you think we got?”

    “I guess it’s safe to count it. Doubt the posse’s on our trail.”

    Jamie and Josh stood over Hank while he emptied the saddlebags on the ground.

    “Put your hands up. We have you covered,” yelled Dewey.

    Josh and Jamie hunkered down and searched for the direction of the voice. Hank gathered the money into the saddlebags and said, “Wait a minute, partner. We can talk this out.”

    “No talking to it. Drop your guns.”

    “How many you think there is?” whispered Jamie.

    “At least two,” said Hank, nodding toward Billy’s position. “See the rifle on that boulder?”

    “Got thirty seconds then we start shooting,” shouted Dewey.

    “I like shooting,” said Josh, standing and firing toward the sound of Dewey’s voice.

    “Josh, you crazy idiot. Your pa should have buried you with the afterbirth,” screamed Hank.

    Billy took aim on Jamie and fired. Jamie fell backward, dead, blood streaming from a hole in his forehead. Josh kept shooting wildly, missing his target. Hank shot two rounds toward Billy’s position, but he had already ducked behind a boulder.

    “Looky here,” yelled Ma.

    Hank pivoted and fired just as Ma’s rifle sent a bullet screaming towards its target. Grabbing his shoulder where Ma’s projectile shredded flesh and bone, the impact knocked Hank backward. He managed another shot at Ma’s exposed left arm and shoulder. It found its mark, and Ma winced in pain as the bullet passed through the fleshy part of her upper arm.

    “Hank, over here,” shouted Dewey, standing and firing three shots of his revolver.

    Hank didn’t have time to turn before the slugs hit square in his chest. He paused, his revolver tumbled forward on his index finger, and he fell facedown with a thud.

    Josh scrambled for cover, toward Jeanie’s location. She backed against a boulder when she saw him coming. Holding the pistol with both hands, she pointed it at Josh, as he got closer. Her hands were shaking. She recognized him as the man who tried to molest her, and he was approaching, fast. He dove behind the boulder and looked straight into the barrel of a Colt Dragoon .44.

    “Hi you, missy. You ain’t gonna hurt me, are you?” Josh crawled closer.

    “You’re the man who tried to hurt me.”

    “Sorry, missy, I don’t know you.” Josh inched forward.

    “You grabbed me in Sedona, dragged me between two buildings, and tried to have your way with me but couldn’t.”

    “I could’ve if I wanted to.” Josh raised up and extended his hand.

    “Not from what I seen. You're too dumb to know what to do.”

    “I ain’t dumb. I’ll show you I ain’t,” yelled Josh, lunging at Jeannie.

    She squeezed the trigger, and the hammer struck the cartridge, propelling a ball of lead down the barrel. The shocked look on Josh’s face froze in place when the bullet punched a hole between his eyes, and gunpowder residue splattered on his face. The exiting round exploded the back of his skull, and he slumped at Jeannie’s feet.

    Dewey ran toward her. “Are you alright?” he shouted. “Are you hurt?”

    “Ma’s been hit,” yelled Billy. “Tain’t bad though.”

    “Is Jeannie alright?” hollered Ma, getting to her feet. “Help me, Billy, have to see my baby.”

    “She’s safe and unharmed. The varmint never touched her. She got him right between the eyes, stopped him dead on the spot. She’s quite a woman, Ma. She sure is.”

    “Stop it, Dewey. Stop talking. Can’t you see I’m hurting inside? Never killed anyone or anything before, and it don’t feel good, like I did wrong, or something.”

    “It was him or you. He would’ve killed you for sure if giving the chance. You did right.”

    “He’s the one who attacked me in Sedona, so he deserved it, I guess.”

    “You're right. So don’t delve on it...How’s your wound, Ma?”

    “I’ll be okay, son. After we bury this bunch, what we gonna do with the bank’s money?”

    “Return it, of course. No use being robbers ourselves.”

    “That’s what I wanted to hear. You take Jeannie along. She’ll keep you company to Prescott, and you’ll get to know her better.”

    “What you saying, Ma?”

    “Nothing, son, just letting nature take its course on the long ride to Prescott and back.”
    Last edited by DRayVan; 09-09-2018 at 09:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User DRayVan's Avatar
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    I've posted the edited version - The unedited version was posted in error.

  3. #3
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Loved this story, DR.
    You are a great story teller.
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

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    Phil Captain Pike's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    Down East Maine
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    Yeah yeah! I like it too, read 'er right through! And it's after midnight here – but I had to finish it. That Dewey is more of a gentleman that I am, ha ha ha!

    Ничего нет лучше для исправления, как прежнее с раскаянием вспомнить.

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